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for Acne — P Trigger?
Ed: Thank you so much for
your great site. My wife just
came into my office and wondered what I was laughing at.
I showed her some of the jokes and letters and she started
laughing, too. What else can
condition began back in 1988, and reached its worst state in 1992.
Plaques, from the size of pennies to pancakes, covered my legs /
buttocks / lower back. I had
a red, itchy, flaky ring around my hairline, which was probably the most
visibly embarrassing occurrence. Lesions
even began to appear on my penis.
I was suffering from a great deal of self-afflicted anxiety back then, and
I gradually made life changes that helped stabilize my moods (therapy, new
job, marriage, anti-depressants). Now,
twelve years after the first lesions appeared on my shins and stomach,
approximately 50% of my P has gone. There
is now just one quarter-size spot on each arm, hip area (roughly where the
ball and socket of the bones meet), knee, and calf, along with a
palm-sized patch on my lower back. My
hairline has been in total remission (except for behind my ears) for five
years now. No plaques
on my genitals either. The
largest lesions remain above each ankle those are the ones the size of
use a variety of treatments to manage the afflicted areas and keep them
looking pink and plaque-free. I
use Dovonex, Ultravate, and an organic ointment made by the HomeHealth
company. When taking a warm
(not hot!) shower, I wash with a scalp and body wash also made HomeHealth. As a resident of L.A. I try to take in some sun daily during
my lunch hour. Although
doctors have said Vitamin A and D capsules are of no value, I take two
every morning with my Glucosamine & Chondroitin (psoriatic arthritis
in my fingers and knees since 1998) which, of all my various treatments,
seems to be of greatest help.
the point I'd really like to make is the "trigger" that I
believe caused my P. As I
said, my condition started in 1988 — that was the same year I took
Accutane for bad acne. Shortly
after I stopped taking it is when my first lesions appeared.
Given that Accutane heightens the immune system to a high state of
alert to attack bacteria and germs in the pores, it makes perfect sense
that the medication permanently left my immune system in a hyper-sensitive
my legs, back, and buttocks? My
only guess is that these are all areas of friction and pressure caused by
clothes rubbing against my skin. Recently
I had a flare-up of P on my penis, due to a "great deal of
friction" (wink wink nudge nudge) within a short time-span.
Once the frequent rubbing stopped, so did the lesions.
This gave me an idea. While
I can't wear shorts at work, I'm going without socks for the next 10 days
to see if those large lesions begin dissipating or decreasing in size.
The next best thing to being 100% P-free is having those two
"ankle pancakes" shrink to the size of the other lesions on my
this prove that guys really do think with their d*ck? ;-)
Thanks again! -Tom D.
Ed’s Response: Much of what you’ve been through, Tom, sounds like a carbon
copy of my own experience with P. Your
trigger suspicion is a real head-scratcher (no pun intended).
I certainly appreciate the logic in your argument that an immune
system booster could trigger P’s more-or-less constant immune system
Here’s a part of what WebMD.com has to say about
Accutane (generic name Isotretinoin): “Isotretinoin is a form of vitamin A. It
decreases the amount of sebum (oil) that is released by your sebaceous
(oil) glands, and it increases that rate at which your skin renews
last assertion, “it increases the rate at which your skin renews
itself” sounds like a prescription for getting P, doesn’t it?
My experience leads me to think, also like you do, that clothes can irritate the condition. Two experiences convinced me of this. The first was switching to silk shirts for the first time — almost NO itching after that. The second was figuring out the most stubborn lesions, the ones that simply wouldn't go away even after all the rest got better, were on places where friction from clothing made me scratch the most. This experience doesn't suggest that clothes caused the lesions, only that clothes caused the lesions to itch. Scratching prevented them from healing. -Ed